Question of the Week: Twisted Tales

Us gamers go by a code. Let’s call this a set of unspoken rules if you will. There is a certain etiquette to what we do and with this comes an understanding that certain behaviors just aren’t on. One of the top-ranking rules in this list is the spoiler rule. This goes for books, movies, and absolutely for games. Don’t tell people who haven’t played the game anything about the plot of the game, especially the end. This can basically be boiled down to, “don’t be a dick.” This, if you’re not a dick, will all be fairly self-explanatory. Now with this in mind and with a bit of trepidation we come to the third installment of QOTW. I clearly hate my own existence…

The question I’ve posed the TVGB crew this week is as to what their favorite videogame plot twists are. Before we go any further (because I like my knees), I’m posting a very big, very obvious disclaimer to this article. The next 10 entries will, without a doubt, contain spoilers that may ruin the game for those of you wanting to play that entry. If you really fancy any of the games on this list and don’t want to be let down, SKIP THE ENTRY AND MOVE ON. I do not want people looking for me or any of the others later. We know what we’re doing. It isn’t big and it isn’t clever, but for those of you that don’t care, it will be entertaining.

Right …with that little rant over, let’s get on with things, shall we? Without further ado … TVGB’s favorite plot twists in videogames.

Jake Sapir: Starwars: Knights of the Old Republic

Perhaps this is cliche, but my favorite plot twist in a game has to be the one in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. I know lately people have given this one flak for being obvious and dull but finding out that my character was really Darth Revan all along shocked me when I was a kid. Suddenly, this was a very different story, and I had important choices to make. It was very cool seeing how my various crewmates responded to the revelation; the characters respond the way you would expect each of them to, thanks to Bioware’s stunning writing back in the day. It made me feel like my choices from then on really mattered, not just for me and my crew, but for the entire galaxy. Whether you choose the Light or the Dark, your character becomes central to the conflict engulfing the galaxy, and that wouldn’t be nearly as exciting without this twist.

Emily Mullis: Final Fantasy X

My favorite plot twist, that actually blew my mind when I was a kid, was in Final Fantasy X when it is revealed Tidus is actually dead. I was so invested in him and Yuna my mind couldn’t comprehend what was actually happening. I believed there had to be some way for them to be together. But when the ending came and he started to disappear I thought, nope, this is it. All this for nothing. 

I was pretty new to RPGs and big storyline games when I first started playing Final Fantasy X so I didn’t know what I was getting into. The experience of playing that game was life-changing. I mostly play RPGs now because of games like Final Fantasy X, I can’t get enough of a good videogame storytelling. The stories are rich and plot twists are a possibility. Keeps you on your toes.  

Jonathan Crawford: Super Mario RPG

My all-time favorite plot twist took place in Super Mario RPG for the SNES. The game starts off in what we think will be typical Mario fashion: Bowser kidnaps the princess. However, a new villain appears on the scene, kicking Bowser out of his own castle and turning the Mario story on its head! The real twist comes about halfway through the game when Mario comes across a sobbing and distraught Bowser. Bowser and Mario agree to work together against their common enemy! Technically, Bowser allows Mario to join the Koopa Troop. In any event, Bowser and Mario team up, and the most famous videogame villain of all time becomes a playable character! In recent years, a sillier side of Bowser has often been shown, but during the SNES era, he was still the baddest baddie on the planet, and joining forces with Mario was unheard of. I’m still holding out for the true sequel to this classic!

Bowser and Mario on the same side?! Never!

Peter Daubert: Bioshock Infinite

I was 16 when I played this game, I played the whole thing through, loving every single minute of its crisp shooting mechanics and invigorating story and setting. I became irrationally attached to Elizabeth, mostly due, I believe, to our shared fascination with out of reach worlds. I went on an absolutely incredible journey in this game and became intensely invested in freeing Elizabeth from the horrors of her tower and her captor, Comstock.

To find out I WAS Comstock, truly shattered me. The final scene of the game completely put me in a tailspin, and it made me question everything I had done all game long. It put everything in perspective, while simultaneously forcing me to act out the very thing I was so wanting to change. Sometimes I still think about how much I wish I could go back and play the whole thing again. 

Alex Southgate: The Legacy of Kain/Soul Reaver series

I’ve mentioned this franchise in the past but I truly believe that if you’re talking about twists, this wonderful five-game series cannot be overlooked. There is no one twist in these games that stands out because there are so many little, cleverly written facets to the story that it’s full of surprises.

You have two separate stories and as such two separate protagonists in the Legacy of Kain series. Kain is a vampire who has to save the world of Nosgoth after its council, The Circle of Nine, become corrupt. The Council keeps the magical Pillars. Each pillar represents a fundamental aspect of existence, and as they break down, the world falls into darkness. The story starts with the murder of Ariel, the keeper of the Pillar of Balance. This sends her lover Nupraptor, the Guardian of the Mind, mad. As he is a powerful telepath, this madness seeps like poison into the rest of the council and everything goes to hell from there. You will find out it’s all planned. Kain is the new guardian of balance and he will have to make the ultimate choice to die with the others and set the world straight or take over. We can guess what happens. I suggest having a look here. That was confusing and rambling but this is a great little page that covers everything.

Raziel: Kain’s child, his enemy, his blade

In the background, Moebius, Keeper of Time, hasn’t gone mad and is pulling the strings of everything and will be throughout all of the games. Raziel appears in Kain’s past, present, and future. As the protagonists of the Soul Reaver games, the two are both friends and sworn enemies depending on where in the plot you look. Everything finally comes together in Defiance, where you will play both characters who will have to put aside their differences once and for all.

This is supposed to be an entry, not an article, so one twist I really love is how Malek, the Guardian of Conflict, can’t protect an earlier council from a vampire attack, something that gets him turned into a haunted suit of armor. This is in the first game. You don’t see why though until the fifth game and it’s because he’s fighting Kain and Raziel and can’t get to the others in time.

Enough of my babbling. If you haven’t played this series and love a well-written, action-packed story, you must go out and find it. It’s well worth your time. To get the most out of them, you have to play all of the games in order or you’ll miss out on so many twists in the plot.

Moebius. He always knows more than you do

There you have it! I’ll be back next time with another question for the lads and lasses on the team. Until then, go out and play some of the entries above. I don’t think we’ve ruined too much for you. Remember, no angry mobs, please. You were warned in advance.